by Brooke Curley
THATCHER- They were found on a dark dirt road to be left for the coyotes, but after months of bottle feeding and careful care, four kittens are ready for homes. However, this story of animal neglect is all too familiar in Graham County.
Cheryl Christensen, a volunteer for the Desert Cat Rescue and Sanctuary of Arizona, told Gila Valley Central that the kittens were found on Stockton Road behind Roper Lake. Christensen said she believed the kittens were left as “coyote bait”. However, after being scooped up and fostered for months, the kittens survived and are ready for new homes. Nevertheless, these kittens remind everyone of the pet overpopulation problem in the Gila Valley.
“You see a lot of it posted on Facebook, (of) people have found them or people who have litters of kittens to get rid of,” Christensen said. “It’s kitten season in the spring, and our area has a very large issue all over. We really need to get some resources in here to help with spaying.”
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, 860,000 cats are euthanized in the United States each year due to shelter overpopulation. When the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society surveyed data collected from American households, the highest reason why pet owners had not spayed or neutered their pet was that they had simply not bothered to do it yet. Although many pet owners don’t consider spaying their cats a huge priority, a healthy female cat can produce three litters of kittens per year. Calculating the average kitten litter and productivity of the female cats, the mother cat, and her offspring can theoretically produce roughly 420,000 cats in seven years.
The kittens’ adoption fee for the Desert Cat Rescue and Sanctuary of Arizona is $50. The fee goes directly toward an account with a local veterinarian. This account can be used to fund spaying the kittens as soon as they have matured.
Officially being open since February 2016, the Desert Cat Rescue and Sanctuary is located near Roper Lake and is completely filled.
“We are small, and we are in Safford,” Christensen said.
Desert Cat Rescue and Sanctuary is a “No Kill” 501n (c) (3) non-profit. Although monetary donations are always appreciated, Christensen said that what they truly need are individuals who are willing to open their homes to foster rescue animals.
“We need fosters,” Christensen said. “We are in desperate need of fosters to just to be ready and get on the list and be prepared. Occasionally kittens like these will be found, and they’re just tiny babies who don’t even know how to eat.”
Christensen told Gila Valley Central that the sanctuary has several programs in the works. One program is to work with SEACUS and Meals on Wheels to accompany the Meals on Wheels drivers and deliver animal food to the elderly so that the elderly don’t feel the need to share their food with their animals. However, at this point, the program is still in search of a holding compartment for the animal food. Nevertheless, even if an individual cannot donate items or money, just their talents would be appreciated. Christensen said they are now looking for an individual who would be willing to help create a website for the sanctuary.
“Even the people who are unable to physically do things, donations of money are always welcome,” Christensen said. “In addition, find our Facebook page and share it. That’s the big thing.”
The kittens will be visiting the Tractor Supply Store in Thatcher on Saturday, July 15, for the Animal Vaccination Clinic. The clinic is a mobile veterinary animal doctor who travels to assist individuals in attaining and administering vaccines to their pets. Pet owners can buy the vaccines from the Tractor Supply Store, and then the veterinarian will administer them.
Find Desert Cat Rescue and Sanctuary of Arizona on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DesertCatRescueAndSanctuaryArizona/.